FMI's Speech Topics

Strategy Development & Business Management

Hiring and Retaining the Right People

The goal of most organizations is to have a robust workforce that sports the right people in the right positions and a set of systems and culture that keeps them excited to be there. However, the current reality for the construction industry is that there is not only an insufficient quantity of craft workers, supervisors, managers and staff for available positions, but also that the industry may not be appealing enough to attract and retain the younger Millennials or the upcoming Generation Z.

  • Explore what recruiting strategies and assessments may improve your chances of initially getting the right people to your front door
  • Understand what primary elements to watch for during the recruiting process to hire quality employees
  • Identify the leadership styles that motivate people and create a productive environment
  • Discover the common mistakes that companies may make when addressing poor employee retention

U.S. Construction Industry Talent Development Report

As construction contractors prepare to emerge from the industry recession and as Baby Boomers continue to retire at increasing rates, there is a significant need to invest in our human resources. What is the best way for your company to go about finding and retaining the best talent? How do you measure the effectiveness of training in terms of outcomes and benefits? Discover the answers to these questions and hear anecdotes from construction contractors’ talent development during this interactive presentation.

  • Identify the training and development strategies that are now required to maximize performance and develop a culture of success
  • Examine the trends, training, challenges, concerns and innovations that have had an impact on the construction industry in the past year
  • Understand how to use these trends and strategies to guide training and development practices within your own firms

Emerging Trends: Seismic Shifts Will Require More Than an Incremental Response

Response to today’s trends will determine the winners and losers of tomorrow. FMI will give a synopsis of the current and emerging construction trends the construction industry is facing. This presentation provides insights into some of the construction industry's complex business challenges and will highlight what the General Contractors, Construction Managers, Architects and Engineers of the future should be doing.

  • Investigate value migration and its impact on the A/E/C industry
  • Discover the explosion of mega projects and what it means for your business
  • Determine where funding for projects is coming from and where it is going

Past, Present and Future: How Contractors Succeed and Which Trends are Emerging for the Future

Numerous contractors, from small to large, struggle to keep existing clients and maintain a foothold. However, others gain traction, build backlogs, run profitably and penetrate new areas of specialization. So what is their secret? Why do some companies do well while others just barely survive? FMI will present several case studies and distill the relevant factors that make these companies unique and successful.

  • Understand the business imperatives for surviving in the construction industry
  • Recognize the common mistakes contractors make
  • Build a company fit for the next challenge

FMI will also give an outlook on the economic forecast and the trends that are driving the future of our industry.

Innovation: The World of Construction 2.0

The word "innovation" often invokes imagery of tablet computers, holograms and spaceships. Industry leaders such as Google, Facebook and Apple wrestle for superiority in game changing innovations. Why should the construction industry— one of the largest sectors in the world— be the laggards in this conversation? Innovative concepts give way to organizational best practices daily through powerful individuals, projects teams and business units. They are not high tech flashy gadgets but rather groundbreaking ideas that create efficiency and ultimately make the industry better.

  • Observe how organizations stimulate innovative thinking at all levels in their organization
  • Examine types of innovation and what limits innovative thinking
  • Understand the role of management and accountability in stimulating or stifling creative and innovative thought
  • Determine the key trends in innovative management theories, technologies and macro-level innovations

Building Your Talent Pool for Future Growth

During the past few years, a focus on the need to invest in the development of our people has been diverted. As contractors hire more people to support new work, we must recognize that some of our talented veterans left the industry and are not coming back. As we hire newer people with less experience, there is a significant need to train them, especially as Baby Boomers continue to retire at increasing rates.

  • Examine training trends, challenges, concerns and innovations and their impact on the construction industry in the past year
  • Identify the successful training and development strategies required to maximize performance and develop a culture of accountability
  • Utilize these techniques and strategies to advance talent development practices within your company
  • Observe what practices leading construction firms from across the country have adapted into their strategic plan

Strategic Planning

No good deal lasts forever. Because your markets, customers, and even products and services change, you need a strategic plan that will help your company adapt and grow. Strategic planning helps senior executives envision and develop the company's future.

  • Prepare for the planning process
  • Build an effective planning team
  • Identify and shape your corporate culture
  • Conduct a situational analysis of both your internal and external environments
  • Implement teamwork to achieve long-lasting results

Not All Strategy is Good Strategy: Fatal Flaws to Avoid

Is your firm hungry for backlog? There is fierce competition for the scant projects currently on the bidding market. In modifying your company’s strategy or direction, it is crucial that executives honestly evaluate climate, customers, competitors and company while redefining your strategic foundation.

  • Differentiate yourself from competitors
  • Determine which market segments will take off
  • Analyze how your clients' buying behaviors have changed

Organizing For Growth: How to Build a Sustainable Organization

One of the most painful aspects of the market downturn has been the trauma experienced by many contractor organizations. Many firms had enjoyed such robust growth during the previous decade that most had never felt the pain of reductions, hiring freezes and cutbacks in professional development in force. Now many companies are questioning if they have the right organizational strategy and resources in place as the market changes yet again.

  • Plan for the future of your organization
  • Recognize the differences between a company's organization chart and organizational structure
  • Create an organization that is sustainable in good times as well as inevitable bad times

What Happens When You're Gone? Developing Emerging Managers to Run Your Company

You have worked hard over the years to build a successful company and have worn every hat along the way. You have also hired some very talented people to manage projects and provide other technical expertise. However, while talented, these people not always have the business acumen to manage the financial, marketing and human capital elements that are critical to running a complex construction company. The most successful managers of the future will have developed strong management, leadership and business skills in order to grow their companies profitably.

  • Position your future leaders as interdependent members of the management team
  • Instill a commitment to proactively lead and manage all elements of your human capital to get the most utilization of your organizational resources
  • Establish a culture of building long-term client relations that will permeate your organization and create a future legacy for your firm

Key Performance Indicators that Drive Best Practices

If you are going to win at the game of contracting, you have to know the score. The score, however, is made up of more than profit. Success is determined by more than whether you made or lost money at the end of the job.

  • Identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) so that contractors can develop the components of a solid game plan for tracking performance through the life of the project
  • Compile the results of the KPIs in order to develop your overall company performance on a timely basis to be able to make corrections to keep your team on course
  • Measure a business's everyday processes to define success factors and measure progress toward strategic goals

Turning Your Project Managers into Business Managers

Although they need to have a solid foundation of technical knowledge, the most successful project managers have also developed strong management, leadership and business skills in order to execute projects profitably. They must understand the financial impact of what they do every day and learn skills such as proactively managing cash flow, accurately forecasting cost to completion, tracking, and pricing and collecting change orders. The best project managers will accomplish this while maintaining positive client relationships to leverage future repeat business.

  • Understand the financial impact of effective project controls, projected cash flow, and getting paid for all of the work you do
  • Manage all aspects of the job utilizing innovative tools and leveraging key relationships with subcontractors, suppliers and consultants
  • Establish long-term client relations through an understanding of marketing and business development concepts

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Marketing & Business Development

The Construction Value Chain: Matching Your Value Proposition to the Needs of Your Customer

Remember that customers buy on their perception of value. If you do not differentiate yourselves in the eyes of the buyer, you will force the customer to buy solely based on price. In order to improve your results, you must conduct an objective analysis of your strengths and then match them to the right market sectors and targets, capitalize on shared values with your customers, learn how to communicate your core competencies to create the best value for your customers and company, and separate customer value points from selling price.

  • Understand the meaning of differentiation and recognize why is it important to you as a contractor
  • Determine what makes your company different
  • Identify which market sectors & clients generate the most margins for you
  • Determine why you are constantly fighting for space in the mind of the customer
  • Develop a structured communications plan to help you stand apart from your competition

Building Your Backlog: Regardless of Market Conditions

Knowing how to build and manage your firm's backlog is crucial. With a new business landscape clearly in view, it is time to tune up your firm's abilities. Your staff knows that it is everyone's job to win work and keep customers happy and loyal. The key is giving them the right tools, ideas and techniques they need in order to engage new and existing customers and win work faster than your competitors.

  • Motivate your people to put "feet on the street" and knock on doors
  • Set your strategy straight: know how you are going to get results
  • Determine the right customers for your firm
  • Instill a customer-focused attitude in your operations team
  • Determine the right choices about business development efforts
  • Identify the "white space" where your firm offers a distinct advantage over competitors
  • Establish a think campaign, a sustained business development effort that has more impact than one big event
  • Establish small improvements that will be easy to implement and maintain

Connecting Actual Job Costs Back to Estimating

One of the biggest risks to a company in a low-margin construction economy is executing a project differently than how it was estimated (and vice versa). The best way to maintain profitability is to create field-friendly budgets, to aggressively track and manage direct costs, and to incorporate actual performance into future estimates.

  • Incorporate field input into estimates
  • Determine the healthy differences between an estimate and a budget
  • Recognize why and how actual job costs should be tracked
  • Utilize job-cost information to improve estimating accuracy

Driving Best Practices in Business Development

As organizations try to make sense of the changing markets around them, many are putting renewed efforts into their business development approach. After observing a significant shift in this direction, FMI conducted an extensive, in-depth survey of contractor CEOs and top executives in an attempt to identify the current challenges of the business development process and those solutions that are yielding positive results. Key findings from this research lead to a greater focus on what works based on direct experiences of contractors who are leveraging a total business development culture within their firms.

  • Determine why the same old sales tactics do not work anymore
  • Implement successful new business development activities and measure the results
  • Instill a companywide business development culture to drive new business opportunities
  • Establish creative strategies that focus all of your resources on the customer

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Project Execution

Practical Applications of Lean Six Sigma Concepts to Improve Efficiency and Organizational Productivity

The focus of many construction organizations remains fixed on cost reduction and efficiency. With the downward pressure on price, contractors continue to examine areas of their business where waste, however large or small, is prevalent. As schedules contract, expectations rise and margins remain in a fragile balance, it is imperative that the construction industry examine its operations and develop sound, lean and efficient processes. Replicable tools and processes will help firms be competitive today and sustain an advantage tomorrow.

  • Examine a general history of Lean Six Sigma and the practical construction applications of Lean tools, processes and behaviors
  • Understand truths and myths about Lean implementation and how a contracting firm can implement the DMAIC concept and reduce waste in any business process
  • Examine FMI’s P3 model (Process, Productivity Tools and People) and explore the correct way to drive efficiency and productivity
  • Create an integrated approach that is consistent, sustainable and replicable long-term to drive money to the bottom line

Project Management

Your company is growing and it is time to expand. After securing the dollars from the capital projects budget, it is time to start the project. Successful project management can make the difference between an on time, on-budget project and a late, over-budget disaster.

  • Understand trends in capital project management
  • Examine strategic project organizing
  • Implement contracting practices
  • Observe project controls
  • Manage quality and safety

Leveraging Your Competitive Advantage by Improving Productivity

How do you win in today's economy? Becoming a lower-cost producer is probably the best strategy. Much like safety, productivity improvement must start at the top. Contrary to popular belief, productivity is not a field problem, but rather an important management and leadership issue.

  • Improve productivity to address the current market challenges
  • Understand how even a minimal improvement in productivity will make you more competitive on bid day and improve your bottom line
  • Implement FMI's P3 model - Process, Productivity Tools, People
  • Integrate top management and project management, which is critical to productivity improvement
  • Determine the best practices being implemented and new technologies that will impact the industry

How to Avoid Confrontation with Change Orders

Change orders are a way of life in construction and, unfortunately, so is the difficulty of explaining change in project scope and subsequent price increases to your customer. However, there are ways to avoid confrontation and still be paid for the additional work that you have done.

  • Master the art of dealing with delays, accelerations, additions, deletions and other changes
  • Recognize a change and get paid for it
  • Understand how to document and determine the amount of a change order and how to communicate changes and their costs to clients and personnel
  • Examine change costs, contract terms and overhead and the impact they have on scheduling and retention

Elements of Cash Flow Management and Getting Paid

Your ability to manage cash flow directly influences your project success. Being aware of this, combined with taking action, can increase your ability to get paid. Master the major tasks of analyzing financial statements, tracking cash conversion periods, deciding when and if to borrow, keeping your working capital at adequate levels and protecting your bonding capacity. After the project is finished is the time to ask for payment, look at retention and final billing preparation and know what your options are.

  • Understand the ins and outs of cash flow and learn to project cash flow by department or job
  • Discuss track total cash flow by analyzing backlog, estimating monthly project income and anticipating cash disbursements
  • Observe how to gain the owner's acceptance
  • Examine the punch-list process: giving notice, interim versus final, allocating funds to items, establishing escrow accounts and finishing on time
  • Discover how to negotiate using bid documents, meeting minutes, notification copies, request for change orders, cost records, estimates, schedules and correspondence as evidence

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Leadership

Developing Your Leadership Pipeline

Rapid changes in technology, globalization and workforce demographics are significantly affecting the way we do business at every level. These factors are also profoundly affecting our ability to recruit and retain quality people, especially as we attempt to develop them into future leaders. By making certain your organization understands how to attract and retain star talent, you will ensure your leadership pipeline stays full and your organization will continue to succeed.

  • Examine the critical issues facing internal leadership candidates
  • Provide insight into how to consistently groom and develop leaders at every level so you can help move them up to the next level of leadership
  • Identify who the top talent is within your organization
  • Understand different methods for developing your top talent to ensure they're working at their peak level

It is 2024: Where Does Your Company Stand?

Change is occurring at a quicker pace than ever, both internally and external to our organizations. In times of increased volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, leadership becomes more important than ever. Long-term planning seems like nonsense with changes to the A/E/C industry occurring daily. Being aware of current global trends will help leaders navigate the shifting market in the short-term. However, it is critical that leaders focus on their long-term organizational vision amidst the changing markets that currently surround us.

  • Uncover global trends of growth and spending in the A/E/C Industry
  • Discover what trends are driving change in our industry
  • Understand the importance of long-term strategic planning
  • Define what their company can't afford to be complacent between now and 2024

Key Principles in Building an Enduring Organization

Building an enduring organization in today's environment of unparalleled change requires the kind of leadership that drives trust, commitment and engagement in its people. FMI leads participants through a discussion of core elements of leadership effectiveness and organizational endurance, as well as critical skills for today's leader of tomorrow's workforce.

  • Clarify what sets enduring organizations apart from other organizations
  • Recognize the invaluable importance of building an enduring organization that will last through numerous generations
  • Identify a framework for building an enduring organization
  • Examine the role leadership takes in establishing your organization's core ideology and envisioned future

Leading Employees of All Generations

Research shows there are characteristics and events in history that helped shape each generation, making each of them unique. From baby-boomers to Millennials and Generation X, every generation is motivated and frustrated by different things. Figuring out how to lead the four distinct generations in today's workforce is extremely challenging and overwhelming, but also doable.

  • Understand the unique characteristics and motivators for each generation
  • Implement strategies for communicating and effectively leading employees of all generations
  • Discover how to retain and lead each generation

Leading in a VUCA World

The United States military coined the term VUCA to reflect the growing volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity of general conditions and situations. VUCA accurately describes the environment currently facing the construction industry. In such times, leadership becomes more important than ever before. Leaders will need a new skill set to operate effectively in a VUCA world. This interactive presentation will explore the unique challenges and opportunities that exist in this new environment and explore the skills leaders need to succeed.

  • Understand how VUCA is impacting your business
  • Identify the key skills leaders need to operate in a VUCA world
  • Effectively manage change throughout your organization
  • Create a plan to develop the next generation of leaders to effectively lead in this new business environment

The Strategic Imperative: Transforming How Leaders Think

To succeed in a constantly changing business environment, leaders need to reexamine the way they think about their business, their strategies and their people. This interactive presentation will explore how leaders can transform their thinking from operational to strategic in order to see new opportunities and solutions to the problems they are facing. In this increasingly competitive business landscape, the leaders who are able to think strategically about their business will have a clear advantage in the marketplace.

  • Implement strategic thinking on an individual level and apply that thinking to the organization's strategic initiatives
  • Increase awareness and plan for the major trends and factors that will impact your business
  • Examine the specific skills that allow an individual to think more strategically, ultimately leading to greater results
  • Identify ways to develop strategic thinking skills in the next generation of leaders

Strategic Leadership: How Today's Decisions Will Impact Your Organization's Future

Strategy. Innovation. Change management. These are buzzwords in the lexicon of today's management books. What do they really mean to leaders in the construction industry? In today's world of constant, rapid change, it is more difficult than ever to chart a course through the uncertainty and ambiguity to ensure your organization's success. Leaders need to think strategically to leverage the opportunities in the marketplace while avoiding the pitfalls. This interactive presentation will help participants learn how to capitalize on strategic opportunities, from understanding innovative processes to monitoring the competitive landscape, in order to create and sustain a competitive advantage.

  • Understand the difference between strategic planning and strategic thinking
  • Discover how leaders can plan for the unexpected and ensure the long-term success of their organization
  • Implement strategic decisions to guide the organization through turbulent times
  • Predict and prepare for the long-term impacts of today's decisions

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Compensation

Common Practices and the Effectiveness of Incentive Compensation

Incentive compensation is a huge investment. The U.S. construction industry has an enormous opportunity to improve the effectiveness of current incentive compensation programs, especially as only 37% of construction companies use industry market data to ensure adequate incentives. However, it can be challenging to create an incentive plan that supports your strategic objectives, motivates attainment of stretch goals, provides desired returns and behaviors and yields results. FMI set out to answer some basic questions to find out what makes incentive compensation more effective in the eyes of top executives in the construction industry. The results of this incentive compensation survey will be revealed during this presentation.

  • Discover the seven critical issues commonly practiced in the construction industry that need to be addressed in order to improve the effectiveness of your incentive program
  • Understand why paying discretionary bonuses are not effective for moving your company forward
  • Determine how total rewards can attract and retain the best talent and increase your return on investment
  • Discover how to effectively balance the incentives to minimize unintended consequences such as divisional silos and free riders
  • Avoid the pitfall of paying out bonuses in lean years and ensure adequate time for proper transitions to new plans

Rewarding Employees through Effective Incentive Compensation Plans

A properly designed and skillfully implemented incentive compensation plan is a powerful management tool. The goals of any incentive compensation plan should be to retain your current employees, to attract new employees and to reward employees for superior performance.

  • Recognize different types of incentive plans
  • Analyze current compensation issues and trends
  • Observe what works, what does not and why
  • Establish methods to link pay to performance
  • Determine methods to implement the plan

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Risk Management

Risk Management Strategies: What You Do Not Know Can Break You

The Risk environment in construction is volatile, and it takes only one major occurrence to put you out of business. Understand what portion of your Balance Sheet is “at risk” and learn to develop risk mitigation plans and programs to respond to these risks.

  • Gain insight into how risk management can be a strategic asset to your business
  • Determine and quantify your company’s risk tolerance line
  • Identify black swans that could take your business out. Does your enterprise risk management program address the “what ifs”?

Risk Management as a Strategic Asset: Protecting the Legacy of the Firm

Risk Management is no longer a defensive strategy. Firms are leveraging risk management not only to mitigate risks but also to profit from them. It is clear that the construction marketplace has changed over the last several years as owners are more educated and the competition is tougher and, as a result, businesses are running fast and hard for tighter margins. While the market has changed, the leaders of our industry have evolved the way they view risk management. However, much of the industry still operates under the tactical view of risk. Best-in-class construction firms are using risk management as a strategic asset to not only better protect the company, but also to increase value and profitability.

  • Transform risk management from a cost center to a profit center
  • Determine the importance of shifting from a tactical to a strategic view of risk management
  • Understand the critical elements needed to defensively (protect) and offensively (increase the value) utilize risk management
  • Recognize what the value of a structure and enterprise approach to risk management can have on your strategic plan and the future of your company
  • Identify where risk management should live in your organization and how it should be handled at the highest level

Where’s the Risk?: Creation of a Project Risk Assessment

While the construction market in many regions is improving and there is some cause for cautious exuberance, many contractors are still experiencing crowded bid boards and competition willing to pursue work at near break-even (or worse) margins. As the pressure mounts to build the backlog and keep ‘feeding the machine’, it has never been more important for contractors to understand and quantify the risks associated with a project prior to submitting the bid. However, when it comes to bidding projects, contractors have been slow to react to this new environment and continue to bid projects as they historically have done. Forward thinking contractors are implementing robust project risk assessment programs within their organizations.

  • Understand how to price projects consistently and accurately to win the “right” work at the “right” price
  • Observe how best-in-class project risk assessment programs positively affect margin outcome
  • Determine the key elements and project areas contractors should focus on
  • Discover how risks are identified, analyzed, weighted and scored
  • Analyze the key components of a project risk assessment dashboard

Bridging the Gap in Organizational Risk Management

Risk lives in all functional areas of contractors’ business. How well they formalize the risk management function within the organization is what separates the best in class from the rest. Best-in-class contractors treat risk management more holistically and have identified and bridged the gaps that exist within their organizations.

  • Determine how firms “bridge the gaps” between risk management silos that exist within the organization
  • Understand how risk is embedded within the functional areas of the company and affect strategy, business development and preconstruction, operations, and finance
  • Recognize how to quantify, manage and mitigate risks that could threaten the company’s balance sheet health
  • Discover how an enterprise risk management process can identify unseen risks and successfully manage and mitigate the impact to the organization

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